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Newspaper Page Text
He dismounted at the door of
his abode, tethered his hores, and
walked into the trap which had
been set for him. Don Ramon
was waiting insidevith twenty
Mexicans, and all their rifles were
leveled uncomfortably upon his
Don Ramon removed his hat
and made a sweeping bow.
"Senor," he said, "welcome.
.Will you accompany me upon a
visit to our friend, Don "Luis'
"I shall be delighted," answer
ed Hale. "When do we start?"
"At once, Senor Hale," answer
ed the youth, and sent for the
horses, which had been tied in a
clump of brushwood three hun
dred yards' distant. When they
had arrived Don Ramon held
Hale's stirrup, until he was in the
saddle; then he mounted his own
horse, and accompanied by the
Mexicans, they clattered away
toward the hacienda.
The old crone was waiting for
them with coffee. Don Ramon
looked round briskly.
"Where is Senorita Leonora?"
"She is gone!" muttered the
crone. "She rode out toward So
nora early this morning and has
Don Ramon ground his teeth.
"When will she return ?" he ask
ed, and the old woman burst into
a storm of excited jabbering,
which Hale could not follow.
When she had ended the Mex
ican turned to him.
"Senor," he began, quietly
jenough, but gradually working
himself into a fury as he proceed
ed, "you are doubtless glad that
Senorita Leonora has escaped.
But you do me an injustice, for
my love for her is too deep to per
mit me to do her injustice. My
wish is only to shield her in these
troublous times that have come
upon us. I am particularly anx
ious to protect her against you."
"Don't' frouble yourself," said
"It will be no trouble," said
Don Ramon, snarling. He turn
ed to one of his men. "String a
rope over the tulip tree," he said.
The man ran for a rope and
presently came back with it. He
flung it over the tree and tied one .
end into a noose. The old crone
watched from the veranda.
"Now, Senor, are you ready?"
asked Don Ramon pleasantly.
"You intend to hang me?" in
quired the American.
"To suspend you, Senor," the
other corrected. "Not out qf en- '
mity, you understand, but to pro
tect the 'Senorita Leonora from '
you. She is the owner of a cer
tain amount of property, you will
understand, and well, Senor
Hale, will you condescend to step
Hale looked at the rope and at '
the Mexican. In that second he
was calculating His chances. He
was unarmed; he could, at the
best, hope for nothing but death
by the bullets of the rebels instead '
of by hanging. Should he plead
for his life, or for an easier exit?
But before he could, decide, the
crone had flung herself at Don
Ramon's feet, shrieking and fling